As of Nov. 1, It’s still just one lane open although work has resumed.
Touching bases with John Medlock at public works, he reported that the project was shutdown because of nesting birds—turkey vultures. The notion you cannot disturb a turkey vulture nest when you can see gobs of them along Interstate 680 sunning themselves on winter mornings was a surprise, but Medlock said they are a protected species and thus the shutdown.
They plan to have the road re-opened by Nov. 13, about five months late thanks to the vultures.
Speaking of road closures, this weekend will be a doozy—weather permitting—when I-680 south is closed from the I-580 interchange to Koopman Road in Sunol. CalTrans and the city of Pleasanton, learning from the traffic disaster on prior closures, have tried to wall off Pleasanton so there’s no southbound traffic going through.
Motorists are being diverted to either Highway 84 (the Isabel Avenue corridor in Livermore) or to the Nimitz Freeway (I-880). To eliminate drivers from taking surface streets, both Foothill Road and Sunol Boulevard will be closed south of Castlewood Drive so there’s no alternative to get south other than the designated routes.
Stay tuned to see how it works.
Speaking of transportation and boondoggles, consider the soaring costs of the Bay Area’s two major tunneling projects for trains. The San Fracisco connection from the Salesforce Transit Center to the current end of the CalTrain line now is pegged at more than $4 billion per mile or $8.25 billion according to the San Francisco Standard that verified the cost with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman. That’s up from the prior $6.5 billion estimate.
That same commission last week did its part of keep the BART connection under downtown San Jose with some money, allocating $375 million in state funds. The tunnel is supposed to connect with the San Jose Caltrain station that eventually is supposed to carry the high-speed rail. Laugh, laugh.
The four-station, six-mile extension now is priced at $12.2 billion and scheduled to open in 2036, 10 years later than originally scheduled and at more than twice the cost.
It way overdue for a fresh reckoning on these megaprojects that asks the direct question of whether they still make sense with the business models of the transit agencies broken.
A few interesting facts from the 4th Life Sciences Summit hosted held at Unchained Labs in Pleasanton two weeks ago:
• Two life sciences companies, AAT Bioquest and DiaCarta US, moved their headquarters to Hacienda Business Park from Sunnyvale and Richmond, respectively, according to data from Brian Wilson of Cushman and Wakefield.
• Three startups are using Daybreak Labs facility in Livermore—Veda Bio, Ageis Bio and EnCellIn—while a fourth, Life Foundry is relocating from Illinois.
• Local life sciences companies garnered $152 million in venture capital investments, while there was $252 million in merger and acquisitions.